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Begin with compassion

Become more resilient with compassion in challenging times.

Why is it some people are more resilient to the everyday stresses of life and I am not?

This was a question I asked myself so many times when I was truly struggling with my mental health. I believe that there are times when we feel that there is very little we can do to navigate the world around ourselves if we do not work on the thoughts and stresses within.

What did that mean for me? It meant, I needed to focus inwards and figure out what was really being ignored and ultimately be more ok just to be me. I was trying to be what I thought I needed to be and do what I thought is expected of me. I did not consider my own needs, which became a pattern that sadly only I expected of me. No-one else was really aware because each of these people were living their lives taking care of their own needs.

Becoming very ill brought me to a place where I was forced to begin my own journey of finding compassion for myself and learn what that meant taking one small moment at a time. This began the journey of compassion and exploring self-acceptance of simply being me.

I began to realize that I did not owe an explanation to anyone for following my heart and taking a little time to see what I needed to bring more joy into my life. Through yoga and talk therapy a new thought creeped into my mind; my happiness is reason enough to want to do something kind for myself. I began to journal and a new gentle thingy pattern began and I used mantras as anchors.

These three sentences brought me back in times of darkness; my feelings are important, my dreams are important, and my happiness is important. With these three thoughts I would then stop and inhale a soothing breath and exhale slowly feeling a sense of calmness softening into my very sensitive nervous system.

I began self-study and self-care. I slowly and deliberately began to understand that there is nothing I needed from anyone else until I knew what I needed could already exist within me. Through meditation and calming asana practice I was able to be aware of what I was feeling and not reacting. It made me calmer and stronger.

There is one memory that stands out to me of when I was a child living in England before my family moved to Canada. This memory came back to me after my Mom nursed me back from my nervous breakdown or as I like to call it now my breakthrough. I needed someone with me twenty-four hours and Mom cared for me, stroking my hair as she did when I had trouble falling asleep as a child. She would stroke my forehead and my hair and say soothingly, “you will be ok, I am here.” I felt like I had traveled back in time which at the time was so healing and drawing me out of the darkness I felt smothering me. My Mom stayed with me day and night until one of my daughters or husband came to sit with me.

In my memory I was four years old again. I have been blessed and cursed with an amazing memory. I was an adventurous little one and from time to time I would leave my moms side when we were shopping and one time I was for a short time lost. I remember the fear of looking around and not seeing my mom and the panic that followed. I began to cry and call out for my mom and it felt like eternity before I was in her arms being soothed again.

My cries brought many moms with concern to see who’s little one was crying, each trying to see if I was ok. This overwhelmed me more but then I saw my own mom with the same look of fear on her face, I began to cry ever harder. I had not wandered off far but far enough that we could not see each other.

I remember my mom hugging me in close, soothing my hair and wiping my tears. I once again felt safe. I never forgot what she said. “ If you do get lost, stay where you are and I will find you.” I nodded and she took my hand and we continued with shopping and I don’t think I left her side again!

This is so true in so many ways. I believe that this is something to live by even now. If we keep doing the things that cause us fear and anxiety we will feel lost, but…. if we begin to sit still and trust in the practice of yoga we become more aware. The awareness to begin to notice what is happening within, what is within myself so I could begin that journey back to my true Self. As I began this journey back, I felt like my soul was yearning for peace and time to truly be who I needed to be.

As I slowly came back more and more to what my needs were, I began to feel stronger and the gentle voice within me became louder and clearer. It took time but with the practice of slowing down and sitting still I began to heal. I met myself with compassion and by doing this I knew that I was not that lost but by trusting my inner wisdom I had found me. Just like my mom had said to me in that shopping mall that day. Stay where you are and I will find you.

Here are a few ideas to start with a beginner's mind for your own compassionate journey.

  • Create a sacred space. Designate and area in your home where loved ones know that this is your space to have peace. This is where you can meditate, journal, practice yoga or simply sit with a cup of tea and breathe.

  • Find a daily mantra that brings in calmness. A few suggestions are:

All the answers are within me.

I am well.

I accept myself with compassion in this moment.

  • Begin a self-care journal. Writing a journal is a powerful way to practice self-care. It can improve your mood, leave a sense of calm, find your centre and help improve overall though and decision making.

  • Start your journal with this intention written in the very front so you can read it each day:

    • My intention is to live with compassion and self-love. My intention means I plan to live and listen to my true-self which means; taking time to create space to look within, do more of what I love and let go of the rest, especially the things I cannot change. By doing so I am listening to my heart and nourishing my mind, body and spirit.

  • Printable journal Page: PDF:

Begin within Journal Page.
Download PDF • 370KB

Practice with compassion with yoga and meditation:

To find out more about me:

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